Vermont Sports Betting Bill Passes Through The Senate, Awaiting Final Approval From House and Governor
The Vermont Senate passed the state’s sports betting bill this morning on its third reading. It is now sent back to the House which to approve the Senate amendments and then off to Gov. Phil Scott, who is expected to lend his signature.
Details of The Senate-Amended Bill
The bill – H. 127 – would allow between two and six online sportsbooks in the state through a competitive bidding process. According to the fiscal note, the Department of Liquor and Lottery (DLL) will negotiate a revenue sharing agreement with operators – the minimum allowable share rate is 20%. This acts like a tax that will be applied to adjusted gross revenue.
One of the proposed amendments made by the Senate is the operator fees required to gain licensing in the state. If the House approves these amendments, the new fee structure will be as follows, according to The Journal of The Senate (pg. 1008):
- Two operators, $412,500 per operator
- Three operators, $366,666 per operator
- Four operators, $343,750 per operator
- Five operators, $330,000 per operator
- Six operators, $320,833 per operator
The DLL will collect a $550,000 initial operator fee that “may not be assessed more than once in any three-year period,” according to the fiscal note.
Another amendment made by the Senate Judiciary Committee increased the fines associated with unauthorized operators. For any operator conducting sports wagering without a license in the state, the DLL would issue a $50,000 fine the first time, $150,000 the second time, and $300,000 for all subsequent instances.
Other amendments made surround advertising rules and the banning of “risk-free” and “free” in marketing material.
Revenue Projections & Allocation
The Joint Fiscal Office laid out the following two-year revenue projections for the sports betting market:
- 2024: $2 million
- 2025: $4.6-10.6 million
On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Sen. Alison Clarkson said she believes that revenue from sports betting will level out to around $10 million per year after 2025.
$250,000 of the revenue generated in 2024 and $500,000 in 2025 will be placed in the Sports Wagering Fund to the Department of Mental Health which assists problem gambling programs. In each fiscal year after 2023, 5% of the annual sports wagering revenue received by the DLL will be placed in the same fund.
Vermont Sports Betting Timeline
Vermont’s legislative session ends on May 9, meaning this bill needs to be signed, sealed, and delivered to the governor’s office beforehand. Assuming that it does make it there, the proposed timeline has the market launching in January 2024.
Following legalization, the next few months would be dedicated to outlining the rules and regulations. By August, sports betting operators would be able to start placing bids for licensing and by September the DLL would issue the licenses. For the remainder of 2023, the contracts would be drawn up and awarded ahead of the January launch.